Barbadians Fight AIDS/HIV Stigma and Discrimination

aidsAnglicansBarbadians have been reminded that the HIV virus may affect every area of the community and that stigma and discrimination can only disrupt all of the progress made through various channels. This reminder came recently from a member of the Barbados Government Information Service’s (BGIS) HIV and AIDS Education Committee, Paula Harper, as she addressed the launch of Sticks and Stones, a children’s book about HIV and AIDS, stigma and discrimination. The book was written by Barbadian poet and writer, Katy Gash, to teach children about the value of love, family, respect and tolerance. A CD-ROM was created along with the book to provide parents and children with more information on HIV and AIDS.

Speaking specifically about the book and the maxim “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me,” Ms. Harper said words did hurt, and Sticks and Stones was developed to help educate against that kind of ignorance. “We have heard too many stories of men, women, and children abused and neglected due to their perceived status. Family, goodwill and love are often thrown out of the window to be replaced by fear, hatred, gossip and lies,” she surmised.

The BGIS’ HIV and AIDS Education Committee was created six years ago to raise consciousness about the virus, using various media. In 2006, it produced the radio drama Consequences, written by Paula Harper, and the group currently makes donations to the Ministry of Health’s HIV/AIDS Food Bank.

For full article see http://www.barbadosadvocate.com/newsitem.asp?more=local&NewsID=5398

Photo from Anglicans in World Mission article “HIV/AIDS Education, Barbados” at http://www.uspg.org.uk/article.php?article_id=370

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